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The Great Wall flat eight will be the Chinese car maker's first motorcycle… and it’s insane!

The Great Wall flat eight is expected to be officially revealed this month.

Great Wall was among the first Chinese car manufacturers to make a mark on international markets – initially with vans and trucks that hit Europe in 2006 and Australia in 2009. Now its one of Chinas biggest manufacturers, overseeing several brands, and its about to become a motorcycle manufacturer as well.

But Great Walls first bike wont be the sort of low-tech single that most of Chinas motorcycle companies started with. Instead its set to be a vast 2000cc, flat-eight tourer thats essentially a Honda Goldwing on steroids.

Yes, the engine will be an eight-cylinder design, making it not only the highest cylinder count for any Chinese-made motorcycle but the highest of any production bike in the world. Sure, there have been a couple of attempts at V8 bikes before – Morbidellis 750, for instance, and the stillborn Norton Nemesis spring to mind, as does the Moto Guzzi V8 racer and Hondas NC750, which is essentially a V8, with eight con-rods and 32 valves, but with four oval pistons instead of eight round ones – but none have ever been made in large numbers.

Great Walls eight isnt a V8, though, as the company has clearly been looking very carefully at the Honda Goldwing when it comes to inspiration. As such, it uses a boxer engine, with a longitudinal crankshaft and the transmission mounted underneath, driving the rear wheel via a shaft. But where Honda uses six cylinders and 1800cc, Great Wall has eight cylinders and around two litres of capacity.

The company has already filed several patents showing elements of the bike, including the flat eight engine itself and the cooling system which, like the Goldwing, has radiators mounted on each side of the bike. It also features a semi-automatic, dual-clutch transmission – again taking a leaf from Hondas book.

As well as ramping up the cylinder count, the Great Wall bike features DOHC cylinder heads where Honda uses an SOHC design and might feature a cam-phasing variable valve timing system for the intake camshafts.

The bike itself made a cameo appearance in a video posted on Chinese social media by Great Walls billionaire boss, Wei Jianjun. It’s clear from this glimpse, as well as earlier photos of a disguised prototype, that the bikes Goldwing similarities continued to the aluminium chassis design and to the use of a Hossack-style girder fork suspension at the front, rather than conventional telescopic forks. Its a solution that makes sense on such a big, heavy tourer, helping to allow soft suspension without excessive brake dive. BMW uses a similar setup on the K 1600.

Following that tease, theres now wide expectation that the bike will be officially shown at the Beijing Auto show in late April. And no, that’s not code for a late April fools joke…